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Euro 2020: WWII veteran asks English fans to respect Germany in Wembley knockout match | UK News

Even at 98 years old, Walter Nixon doesn’t tire of much in life.

He enjoys every game of Euro 2020 and enjoy a beer as England enter the tournament’s first knockout match against Germany at Wembley Tuesday.

But as a veteran of the Second World War he’s tired of the chauvinistic anti-German tabloid headlines that were so obvious at Euro 96 and the small minority of fans who still insist on singing about German bombers.

He’s not the only one who believes that this kind of feeling has no place in 2021.

Walter in uniform - he enlisted at 19 in 1941
The 98-year-old enlisted at the age of 19 in 1941

“I’m really disappointed with people when they respond,” he told Sky News.

“That was about 80 years ago and time is running out and we have to put it all behind us now.”

Mr Nixon was 19 when he joined the British Army from his small village in Suffolk.

He had only visited the nearest town of Ipswich a few times before and had never taken a train before.

During the following war years, he served in North Africa, then landed on the beaches of Anzio and continued to help liberate Italy from the Nazis.

“I have no animosity towards the Germans… you can’t look back like that,” he said.

Walter with rosette - all set for the 1978 FA Cup final in Ipswich Town
Mr Nixon ready for the 1978 FA Cup final at Ipswich Town

The fight against fascism was just one episode in Walter’s long life and it angers him that some people still choose to revel in war in the name of sport.

“I’m sorry for these people – I’m sure they are the ones who didn’t participate in the war… we left everything behind and we are living for the day.”

On a recent trip to the beaches of Italy, Mr Nixon visited the graves of two of his friends whom he had helped bury after their deaths in trenches.

Mr Nixon was 41 when England won the World Cup in 1966 and remembers going to Ipswich to greet the world champions under former Ipswich Town manager Alf Ramsey.


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This notice was published: 2021-06-28 18:19:00

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